I will be completely honest, I was very skeptical with TellTale Games taking the lead on turning one of the greatest new shows on television and turning it into a game. Their resume caters to movie-like experiences in games and when it comes to zombie killing they aren’t the first studio that comes to mind.
If you are looking for a zombie killing festival you will not find it in this game. What you will find is an episodic experience that takes the best parts of the Walking Dead and puts you right in the middle of that world.
The gameplay is unique and instead of giving players a third person camera and settings to explore, they offer camera angles as if it was a movie. Imagine you are the actor in a scene and the director puts the camera in the desired position for the shot, you are the actor. You will have strange camera angles that you will experience as you are trying to search shelves or navigate through a building, but it actually adds to the story.
The next aspect of the game really focused on dialogue and encompassed Mass Effect’s dialogue system but with a nice twist. You aren’t given infinite time to make decisions on what to say. The decisions you make matter throughout the first episode and dialogue can play a major role in how other characters see you. For example when I was talking to one of the people I had 4 options on what to say (A, B, X, Y) and a timer that gives you maybe 5 seconds to answer. On top of that there are instances in the game where you have a very small window to interact with either actions/words, forcing you to always pay attention and helps draw players in even more.
This was the first episode and I could already see my decisions shaping the story. Where Mass Effect spanned multiple years to see decisions pan out, it is crazy to deal with decision making that has an immediate impact. This is also the games strongest feature.
When it comes to actual combat the game turns to a Resident Evil cutscene style. Where players need to take immediate action by doing things like tapping A repeatedly to break a zombie’s hold and then hitting a random button (X, B, Y) to push them away, or you will have to move your right thumbstick to grab a shotgun shell and hit A then move it again to put it in the gun and finally aim your shot.
It is simplistic and combat you wouldn’t expect in a zombie game, but they make it work. They do it just like in the show, limited killing but maximum brutality. Trust me, they do not skimp on the gore…I may have repeatedly beat someones head in with a hammer.
The gameplay elements are nice and I actually really love the way they are doing this episodically. Other games have tried doing similar things in the past, but I feel like creating compelling stories that pull you in and offering episodes rather than hitting you all at once is a nice addition to the gaming scene.
Overall it took me three hours to complete and for Walking Dead fans it was like experiencing a long epic episode of the show. It is nice to know that I can get excited when a “new episode” comes out and I can drop $5 to see how the story continues, you can also buy a season pass for $25.
The world of the Walking Dead, the story in this game, and the developers approach to offering what feels like a seamless experience really make this game great. It won’t be what some people will expect but it is a great change of pace game that Walking Dead fans will really enjoy.
If you haven’t noticed I excluded all elements of the actual story. If you are anything like me, you cherish every twist/turn/event that comes with every episode of the Walking Dead. So when I have to constantly be weary of spoilers on Facebook and Twitter right after an episode is over and I haven’t watch it yet, I literally went to set these people on fire.
So as a gift to you I will not be one of those people who damage internet etiquette by spoiling anything. Instead I suggest at the bare minimum you spend $5 and see if you like it.
A copy of the Walking Dead was provided to us for review by TellTale Games.